Autism parents secretly (And sometimes not so secretly) hope that things “get better as they get older”. You know, who doesn’t want to enjoy those little luxuries we dream about on a daily basis? Imagine…the ability to shower for longer than 5 minutes (And guess what? Get to use hair conditioner for a change!). We can talk about brushing it in another blog post…
Well folks, I am approaching an era that goes beyond all of that…an era that is like diving in deep waters and even though so far you think you have been a pretty good darn swimmer, nothing prepares you for this next stage. Nothing. We are playing in the big boy’s league now and I have NO idea how it will turn out.
King#1 will be legally an adult in a matter of months from now…No, it is not a typo and I think I should type that again because I NEED to read it over. King #1 will be legally an ADULT in a matter of months from now. *gulp*
Teenage years are the toughest years so far, especially for high-functioning children on the spectrum. You have the mix of Autism plus hormones, plus teenage behavior. ALL at once, Lord have mercy.
I am just here trying to digest what I just typed, comprehend and brain-storm the long list of questions and ifs that have been floating on my mind for a while now.
In addition to that (Which is a LOT don’t you think?), King #2…one of my babies… who is the one that struggles the most with communication and the one that displays the most autistic characteristics is showing clear physical signs of pre-puberty. YES. PRE-PUBERTY. I have an adult in the making and one kid that is about to hit PUBERTY. Can someone PLEASE hit me with a hammer to see if all of this is just a dream!?
Am I supposed to be excited? I am so speechless that I really don’t know how to even start answering that question. I am totally bewildered.
I am starting to see how much it really “hits” you (Like a rushing wave) to see the physical changes associated with puberty happening to your moderate/severe child on the Autism spectrum. I don’t think anything can prepare you for that. It is very surreal to say the least.
I cannot put into words what is like but it is happening. It is happening right in front of your eyes and his.. But the only person who seems aware of it is you. There are no questions on his part; there are no concerns because he simply cannot express with full sentences what is really taking place.
Everything (In his mind) seems to be the same… Peppa Pig and We Bare Bears. You come to terms with the fact that time doesn’t forgive and nature takes its course regardless of what is happening inside your child’s beautiful brain…
It is a bittersweet experience to witness…often times more sad than anything else but depending a lot on the day and how you feel. It is also very humbling because there isn’t anything you can do to stop it, even if you would want to “postpone” it until your child is ready to manage those changes. You simply cannot but you are a parent, you are supposed to be all powerful.
My kings are moving towards a place I am not even sure about but again, that’s how the journey has been so far for all of us Autism parents. We walk little by little not knowing exactly what will happen next. Like them, I am a little scared. But you know what? We all went through so much that I am okay if I am. I make no apologies for it or feel bad about it.
Autism times 3 can be extremely overwhelming, but also rewarding. Seeing your children overcome so many challenges throughout the years gives you the energy and courage to continue working hard and never give up. Of course, you will always have your “moments” don’t ever feel guilty about it. Feel them; process them so you can then find the strength to move on.
Even when you feel to give up, some little arms around your neck will remind you that you cannot. You know there is a bigger mission to be accomplished and the job shouldn’t ever come as a burden or a tick in a to-do list.
Take a deep breath, compose yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and find that inner voice that says: You are enough. Because indeed, YOU ARE. When you realize that you are MORE than enough, you will then find the courage to continue this journey. You will discover that the ability to continue moving despite all your fears is not a sign of weakness or inadequacy, but quite the contrary it is a sign of true strength.